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Guest blogger: Alissa Callen

10 February 2019

Your next read could be just around the corner

A few years ago, in a small rural village, I saw a white bookshelf attached to a post. Curious, I stopped. Behind the dusty glass doors were neat piles of pre-loved books. It was such a simple concept to share the joy of reading, and yet such a powerful one. So whenever I drove on that back road again I’d take a book to leave.

It wasn’t until a local Dubbo church put up a hand-painted street library that I realised the bookshelf I’d seen wasn’t an isolated occurrence. Little free libraries, or street libraries as they are known here, can be found worldwide. In 2009 Todd Bol crafted a model of a school house, set it up outside his house and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother who had been a school teacher. Today there are more than 75,000 little free libraries in 85 countries.

On a recent research trip I planned my itinerary with a new focus: to see as many street libraries as I could and to leave some books. On a country road outside of Cowra I found a rural library made out of an old fridge. In Canberra, which is a mecca for street libraries, I discovered one designed as a Tardis and another that had its own couch. In Victoria I then came across a sweet little library in a leafy green street.

  

In my recent release, The Round Yard, Neve Fitzpatrick treasures the copy of a childhood Silver Brumby book she found on a community bookshelf at a small corrugated-iron hall. When she needs to find a new sense of purpose she establishes a street library at the adventure playground of small town Woodlea. The action is symbolic as it represents her re-engagement with life and her openness to new possibilities—especially when it comes to the drover Tanner Callahan.

So, wherever you live—city, coast, suburbia or the outback—to discover if there is a tiny street library just around the corner please visit https://streetlibrary.org.au/

You can find Alissa here: Website | Facebook

The Round Yard

For only child Neve Fitzpatrick, family is everything. When she loses her mother, she heads to the bush to rent a farmhouse near her grandmother’s family home. To keep herself busy and her grief at bay, she offers to look after two little redheaded cowgirls and adopts a sassy pony and sweet donkey in need of a refuge.

Drover and horse trainer Tanner Callahan may have just found his mother, but he’s resolved never to let anyone too close. Abandonment has cursed him all his life, and he won’t let it happen again. Only two things unnerve him: children and small-town matchmaking. Then he meets occupational therapist Neve. Warm-hearted and unforgettable, she represents all that Tanner feels will forever remain out of reach.

But when an old iron key unlocks family secrets from the Second World War, Neve needs help only Tanner can give. As the threads of the past unravel, and locusts threaten to suffocate the land, Neve and Tanner must make a choice. Will fear keep them running or is the home each yearns for already within grasp?

 

One Comment leave one →
  1. Alissa Callen permalink
    10 February 2019 9:56 am

    Thanks so much for having me over 💗

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